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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14-21

Biology's Contributions to Social Psychiatry's Future

Department of Drug Design and Development, National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, Maryland; Aristea Translational Medicine Corp., Park City, Utah, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr Robert E Becker
Aristea Translational Medicine Corp., 3435 Cedar Drive, Park City, Utah 84098
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_81_20

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Objective: To create conditions favorable to social psychiatry overcoming constraints on the range of interventions that psychiatry makes available to patients and communities. Methods: The author reviewed the history of psychiatry's range of practices, research, and training from mid-20th century to present and social concerns with future risks to mental health and well-being. Using Medline, Google, legislative sources, and major news reports, he ascertained the relationships among psychiatric activities, social policies, community resources, and public attitudes toward sciences relevant to health care. Results: Since mid-20th century, psychiatry has become increasingly evidence based in molecular and related fields of biology. After mid-20th century, this biological turn eclipsed social psychiatry functions quickly in the United States with the withdrawal of federal public funding and a constriction of commercial funding for patient care. By the 21st century, professional priorities and governmental federalist funding priorities precluded most psychiatric activities beyond office and hospital-based patient care. With these shifts, American psychiatry did not support social psychiatry practices and other international needs for mental health services. Modern biologically oriented psychiatry limits its future abilities to meet national and international social psychiatry needs by not calling upon 21st century evolutionary biological. By fostering balance and integration among individuals, populations, environments, and a group's historical cultural heritage, Darwin's biology validates social psychiatry adapting a full range of primary, secondary, and tertiary preventive mental health-care services, training, and research resources to meet individual and population's needs. Conclusions: A community's needs define psychiatry's social role in health care. Evolutionary biology promises social psychiatry a comprehensive conceptual grounding focused on how an individual and population affect and are affected by their environments and histories. Without this broad scientific foundation, psychiatry may forfeit the opportunity to gain public trust of how science comprehensively informs and supports human health and well-being.

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